Could loving, as people called it, make her and
Mrs. Ramsay one? for it was not knowledge but
unity that she desired, not inscriptions on tablets,
nothing that could be written in any language
known to men, but intimacy itself, which is
knowledge, she had thought, leaning her head on
Mrs. Ramsay's knee.
Nothing happened. Nothing! Nothing! as
she leant her head against Mrs. Ramsay's knee.
And yet, she knew knowledge and wisdom were
stored in Mrs. Ramsay's heart. How then, she
had asked herself, did one know one thing or
another thing about people, sealed as they were?
Only like a bee, drawn by some sweetness or
sharpness in the air intangible to touch or taste,
one haunted the dome-shaped hive, ranged the
wastes of the air over the countries of the world
alone, and then haunted the hives with their
murmurs and their stirrings; the hives which
were people. Mrs. Ramsay rose. Lily rose.
Mrs. Ramsay went. For days there hung about
her, as after a dream some subtle change is felt
in the person one has dreamt of, more vividly
than anything she said, the sound of murmuring
and, as she sat in the wicker arm-chair in the
drawing-room window she wore, to Lily's eyes,
an august shape; the shape of a dome.
This ray passed level with Mr. Bankes's ray